[Pnews] Palestinians observe general strike in solidarity with hunger-striking prisoners

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon May 22 11:12:46 EDT 2017

*Palestinians observe general strike in solidarity with hunger-striking 
prisoners *
May 22, 2017 - http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=777210
Businesses in Hebron shut down on May 22, 2017, in observance of the 
general strike.

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinians observed a general strike on Monday, 
shuttering businesses and institutions en masse in support of more than 
1,300 Palestinians who have been on hunger strike in Israeli prisons 
since April 17. Palestinian activists also blocked roads in the central 
occupied West Bank to prevent commuters from accessing Ramallah.

The media committee for the Freedom and Dignity hunger strike said in a 
statement that it was “the first time since the First Palestinian 
Intifada (1987-1993) that a general strike was observed in occupied West 
Bank, the Palestinian territory occupied in 1948 (present-day Israel), 
and in the diaspora.”

The committee urged Palestinians to gather at one of the many sit-in 
tents established throughout the occupied territory in support of the 
strike at 11 a.m. to prepare for political rallies organized for later 
in the day.

The statement also called upon Palestinians to undertake a 12-hour 
"hunger strike," and fast between 10 a.m to 10 p.m. on Monday in 
solidarity with hunger-striking prisoners, who are calling for an end to 
the denial of family visits, the right to pursue higher education, 
appropriate medical care and treatment, and an end to solitary 
confinement and administrative detention -- imprisonment without charge 
or trial -- among other demands for basic rights. 

The Higher Follow-up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel held a 
meeting at Tayibe city hall in central Israel, and stressed that all 
Palestinian citizens of Israel should join general strike, with the 
exception of schools and emergency services.

Meanwhile, schools, banks, and public transit in the occupied West Bank 
shut down in observance of the strike, though hospitals and emergency 
services remained open.

Reports have yet to emerge to confirm that diaspora Palestinians living 
abroad were also observing the strike.
A general strike called for on the 11th day of the hunger strike was 
also widely observed <http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=776707> in 
the occupied Palestinian territory.

Story continues below.
Businesses in Hebron shut down on May 22, 2017, in observance of the 
general strike.
Monday’s strike was also widely observed in occupied East Jerusalem. 
Palestinian shops and businesses in Jerusalem shut down, including in 
the Old City and its surrounding villages.Head of the union of parents' 
committees in the occupied East Jerusalem Ziyad al-Shamali told Ma'an 
that schools also observed the strike.

According to al-Shamali, the Israeli mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barakat 
released a statement Sunday ordering that all schools administered by 
the Israel’s Jerusalem municipality to operate normally on Monday. 
However, the parents' committees affirmed that the schools would close 
anyway in solidarity with hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners, 
"because Jerusalem is an integral part of the Palestinian homeland," 
al-Shamali said. The “occupation’s municipality owns and runs several 
(Palestinian) schools in the city, but it doesn't own the students and 
their families," he said.
Earlier Monday morning, Palestinian activists blocked off all roads 
leading to the central occupied West Bank cities of Ramallah and 
al-Bireh with large rocks and burning tires to ensure people adhere to 
the general strike, witnesses told Ma’an.

In Ramallah city, all stores, shops, and factories remained closed and 
the streets were almost completely emptied of people.

Young men were stopping all vehicles attempted to travel into the 
Ramallah district, which represents the commercial center of the West 
Bank, and coerced them to return to their villages or cities of residence.

International diplomats and employees of international organizations who 
live in the outskirts of Ramallah, including consuls, were unable to 
reach their working places, local sources said.
Activists blocked the Ramallah-Jerusalem road at two locations, near 
Qalandia refugee camp and near al-Amari refugee camp.

The main highway between Ramallah and Nablus was also closed, as locals 
blocked a section of the road near al-Jalazun refugee camp in northern 
Ramallah with dumpsters and burning tires.

The main road between Ramallah and villages in the west of the Ramallah 
district was also closed near the town of Beituniya, with activists 
there denying vehicles access to Ramallah.

The road connectingRamallah city and the villages of Bani Zeid 
al-Gharbiyya and Bani Zeid al-Sharqiyya was also blocked with rocks and 
burning tires.

The road between Ramallah city and all villages in the northern Ramallah 
district was blocked near the entrance to the village of Biddu, and 
vehicles were not allowed to move.

In northwest Jerusalem, young men closed the main road in the village of 
The general strike also coincides with US President Donald Trump’s 
arrival to Israel on Monday. He will later meet with both the Israeli 
president and prime minister in Jerusalem.

In addition to the general strike, the committee for the Freedom and 
Dignity strike has also called for a "Day of Rage" on Tuesday, when 
Trump is expected to meet with PalestinianPresident Mahmoud Abbas in 
Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank.

Palestinian factions urged 
<http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=777183>the public to join 
rallies to express their rejection to the resumption of peace talks 
between the Palestinian Authority and Israel under US sponsorship.

Popular protests demanding that Israel meet the demands of hunger 
strikers have previously erupted into violent clashes 
<http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=776735>with Israeli forces, 
most recently last Friday 
<http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=777157>, since the strike began 
more than two months ago.
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